Lord Dowding Fund for humane research


National Antivisection Society

NAMs and how they can help people and animals

10 March 2020


The discovery and development of new medicines complex and time-consuming, many major diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer’s lack adequate treatments. With the current process highly inefficient and using animal models of disease which translate poorly to humans, an incredible 86-90% of drugs that seem promising in animals fail in human clinical trials.

Advanced non-animal research methods are increasingly delivering more effective medicines and efficiencies in drug development – good for people and animals.

Providing valuable new insights into human biology and disease, new approach methodologies (NAMs) have the potential to improve our ability to understand disease and predict adverse drug reactions which cause 1 million hospital admissions, 10,000 deaths and cost the NHS up to £1.6 billion annually in England.

As a member of the Alliance for Human Relevant Science, the Lord Dowding Fund has co-authored a new white paper ‘Accelerating the Growth of Human Relevant Life Sciences in the United Kingdom’ which calls for a fresh approach to biomedical research and drug discovery and support from the UK Government to help businesses transition to the use of NAMs. Read the summary document here.


NAMs have the potential to improve the efficiency of drug research and development, and deliver safer, cheaper and more effective medicines to patients. They include: genomics, the study of DNA; the use of human stem cells; 3D cell models including ‘organs-on-a-chip’; cell lines grown for toxicity testing; human tissues from patient surgeries; and in silico (i.e. computer simulation) models.

A number of countries, including the UK, US and Netherlands have already produced roadmaps to progress the transition to NAMs. Although UK roadmaps are optimistic about their benefits and potential to attract business investment and drive economic growth, they lack the ambitious programmes other countries have launched for their implementation.

For example, the US government provides funding and incentives to test chemicals using NAMs. Recently providing $4.25 million for these research methods, the US Environmental Protection Agency aims to eliminate all requests and funding for studies using mammals by 2035.

The UK could be a world leader in developing and evaluating NAMs – helping people and benefiting business, and without the use of animals.

How you can help make it happen

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